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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Farewell

Long before dawn on Tuesday morning my father-in-law,
who suffered from Alzheimer's,
walked out of the Florida apartment he shared with Howard's mom.

When she woke and could not find him, Irene called the police.
They found him in a canal on the grounds of the retirement community.
No matter how many times I write or say this,
it still does not seem real, or even possible:  accidental drowning.  

So the family is gathering, as families do in times of great sorrow and times of great joy.
Weddings and funerals.
Irene and Milt, proud grandparents, at Alida and Josh's wedding, June 2011.

We will head for Massachusetts tomorrow.
Milt lived in or near Boston for most of his 87 years,
until he and Irene retired and moved South.

It became apparent about 11 months ago that our dear Zaide was losing ground to dementia.
I never mentioned it on the blog, because he was one of That Old House's most devoted readers.

Just as he was a devoted and loving husband, and father, and father-in-law, and granddad.

And now, I'm just plain out of words.

Instead, I will leave you with the words of a 13th century Aramaic prayer,
the Kaddish, that since the Middle Ages has been prayed by Jewish mourners.
It does not mention death or dying, but instead sings the praises of the Almighty.

Cass, Howard, Alida, and Anne
The Mourner's Kaddish

Magnified and sanctified is the great name of God throughout the world, which was created according to Divine will. May the rule of peace be established speedily in our time, unto us and unto the entire household of Israel. And let us say: Amen.

May God’s great name be praised throughout all eternity. Glorified and celebrated, lauded and praised, acclaimed and honored, extolled and exalted ever be the name of thy Holy One, far beyond all song and psalm, beyond all hymns of glory which mortals can offer. And let us say: Amen.

May there be abundant peace from heaven, with life’s goodness for us and for all thy people Israel. And let us say: Amen.

May the One who brings peace to the universe bring peace to us and to all the people Israel. And let us say: Amen.


  1. Oh, Cass (and Howard and the girls of course), I am so very sorry to read this.

    Praying that your dear Zaide's journey was gentle and that you find comfort in the memories and love that you all shared....


  2. I am so sorry to hear about your father in law, Cass. My sympathy to you, Howard, and the girls.

  3. My condolences Cass - may nothing but good memories surround you in the coming days ( and forever after )

  4. I'm so sorry for your loss. What a tragedy.

  5. I am so sorry for your family's loss. (((hugs)))

  6. Oh Cass, so sorry for your tragic loss. Loving thoughts to all of you during this difficult time. AnneMarie xx

  7. Oh Cass. I just checked in and now my heart is broken for you all. Sending you love and prayers that you may find peaceand comfort in your memories xoxoxo

  8. Dear Cass and Howard,
    I am sending hugs and love and peace. There are not words to express how sorry I am.


  9. I am so sorry for your loss. My mother-in-law has alzheimer's, and it is hard to see someone you love go down. My thoughts and prayers are with your family.

  10. Praying hard for you and your entire family Cass. All of your blog friends are here for you. Hang in there.

  11. Dear Cass,
    I am so very sorry and sadden for your lose of one so very dear. In May we lost my dearest sister, she was Catholic and her husband Jewish. Yes they fell in love and both kept their religions and respected each others believes. At my sisters place of rest her husband David recited this very Kaddish first in Hebrew then in English. I feel your pain and heart brake, my prayers are with you and your family.
    Sending hugs your way, Elizabeth

  12. Amen. Keeping you in my prayers...Gina

  13. Sorry for your loss! May your travel be safe

  14. I'm so sorry, Cass, and I'll keep your family in my prayers.
    Shelia ;)

  15. I'm so sorry to hear of your family's loss. I'll be thinking of you in the days ahead.

    Lois in SWPA

  16. I'm so sorry for your family's loss. Safe travels.

  17. Oh Cass.... to lose a beloved family member is tough enough. To lose someone like this just doesn't seem fair. Prayers and love to you and your family.

  18. I'm so sorry Cass. Alzheimer's is such a cruel disease. I will be thinking of your family.

  19. Hugs to you and all your family. A sudden death is never an easy death.

  20. Thoughts and prayers...may you and your family find peace.

  21. I don't know what to say.. so prayers coming your way. God bless all of your family.

  22. God bless you and your family. My mother also died of dementia (complications) and I know what a heartache it is. Perhaps this was God's way of calling him home early. It is so hard for those left behind because it is such a monster of a disease. You are always left with the wondering.....did he know what was happening....did he suffer and have a moment of clarity at the last....I understand because we had so many of those same questions. What a tragedy and I feel so sorry for your mother-in-law. I hope she does not blame she will surely want to....Prayers going up for you and your family- xo Diana

  23. I am so very sorry, sending my prayers!

  24. How tragic. I'm so sorry, Cass. May God's comfort and peace surround you all.

  25. My deepest sympathy on your great loss.

  26. I am so sorry for your loss. You have my prayers for your family and safe travel during this difficult time of your lives.

  27. My sincerest condolences to you and Howard and the family. This is always such a hard thing, as you well know.

    My thoughts are with you.

  28. Such sorrows our life can bring us... but such joy too. It sounds if you beloved Father-in-Law so much much joy to be remembered by...
    You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

  29. Cass,
    There are no words except I am sorry for your loss and the pain you are feeling.
    You, Howard, Irene and your beautiful daughters are in our prayers.
    Your Friend,

  30. I am so sorry for your loss. You and your family are in my prayers. Meghan

  31. Cass, I am so very, very sorry. A terrible tragedy. My father-in-law suffered a horrific accident several years ago while having a stroke. He was disoriented and was at the house next door where he fell off the porch and hit his head on the concrete resulting in major head trauma from which he never recovered. To lose a loved one in such a way is so very hard, isn't it? My heart goes out to you and your family. I pray that you are comforted by His presence and His love will be felt immensely during this time and in the days ahead.

  32. I am so sorry for everyone's loss. There really are no words to send in a time of sorrow, but we are all here for all of you. Sending our love and hugs.

    Jackie Gilmore and family

  33. I know too well how devastated you all must be. Losing a loved one is indescrible but having lost someone to Alzheimer's can not be described. My prayers are with all of you.

  34. Oh, Cass, I am so, so sorry. This is devastating for everyone, I'm sure. I send you my thoughts and prayers and the wish for comfort for you and your family.


  35. Blessings and prayers for your family.

    May God's loving embrace bw with everyone!


  36. Dear Cass and Family - I am so sorry for your loss.
    I lost my grandmother in body two weeks ago, but she had lost her faculties about seven years ago, not even recognising my mother (her only child) on most occasions.
    I understand the mixed emotions you may be having and hope you know that your readers and supporters are many and are here to provide whatever assistance and support you need.

    Kind wishes to you all

  37. Oh Cass, I am so sorry for this great loss. Sending you all my love, Deb

  38. May your memories comfort you and all that knew him. (((hugs)))Pat

  39. Amen and Amen.
    My thoughts and prayers are with all of you.
    What a shock it must be.

  40. Thank you for sharing that prayer. All I can say is "Amen" and may God bless your family and be with you all through this sad time. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers!

  41. Thank you for sharing that prayer. All I can say is "Amen" and may God bless your family and be with you all through this sad time. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers!

  42. I'm so sorry about your father-in-law. We just moved my father to a dementia unit yesterday. It may be the saddest disease in the world.

  43. Cass, my sympathy to you and your family for your tragic loss.

  44. I am so sorry Cass, may our Heavenly Father help you all with his love and blessings

  45. So sorry for your loss - on a distraction note - love your blog

  46. I am so very sorry for your loss. I will ne thinking of you and your family at this difficult tme

  47. Oh Cass. How sad. I am so sorry to hear of his passing. I love that he read your blog. A forever fan I would think.
    Big hugs to you and your family.


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